I'm thrilled to present an interview with the incredible Lola Love! She became Executive Director at BurlyCon in 2018, but she had been contributing more than her share of initiative and hard work before that. We are lucky to have her and I can't wait for you to get to know more about her.
Jo: When and how did you become interested in burlesque?
Lola Love: I didn’t discover burlesque until 2003 or 2004. Believe it or not, living in rural Hawaii, I stumbled across the suicide girls because I was at a friends who was watching it. I think it was a documentary. I remember thinking it was really cool and I was super intrigued. I was a new mom at the time and I didn’t immediately think “I want to do that” but it was filed away in my brain and I knew it was an art form I was curious to learn more about.
What is your performance experience?
I’ve been performing since I was a kid. I was a cheerleader and danced throughout high school. As an adult I continued to dance (samba, Congolese, Afro-Haitian) plus dabbled in the typical raver activities that were hot in the 90’s- poi, hula hoop, fire dancing, etc.
As a performer I stick within the theatrical burlesque realm. I write shows and i tend to be super conceptual. I’m a nerd for large scale theatrical productions. I focus less on solo performance because my brain enjoys bringing entire shows to life. I do perform solos too though!
What do you do outside of burlesque?
Off stage I work full time as an Arts Project Manager and as the Executive Director of BurlyCon. It’s all the business side of art and can be a bit overwhelming at times so I unwind by gardening, hiking, meditating, hanging out with my 17 year old daughter, family and friends. I’m also a fan of brunching because day drinking is sort of my vibe.
How did you become involved with BurlyCon?
I started with burlycon in 2013 as the Director of Programming. I did that until last year! I also stepped into my training as ED in 2018 as the Deputy Director working alongside Indigo (Blue). I attended burlycon for the first time in 2012 and immediately knew I had to be involved. It has literally changed my life and my perspective about burlesque. I’m super grateful for my time with the organization.
What experience outside of BurlyCon has helped you with your work there?
I have done a lot of work worth arts based non-profits in my career that have led me to where I am now. Aside from that I’ve taken tons of classes in nonprofit management, fundraising, and accounting. I’m really fortunate to get paid for what I love to do. I’ve manifested a life where art pays my bills and it’s not something I take for granted. I’m hashtagblessed.
What is it like being Executive Director?
Not going to lie- it’s fucking hard. My first lesson as ED was seeing that my words and behavior have a great impact on the organization. It’s been a bit scary but I’m finally getting comfortable with it.
I’ve also had to learn a lot about the organization in a short time and it’s been a challenge. A good challenge but still, a challenge. I’m excited for 2020 when I’m a little more comfortable in the position and have the bandwidth to do even more!
What are your responsibilities?
Running the organization and putting out fires. LOL!!! This year I have spent a lot of time on getting the information in everyone’s brains documented. The team has put a lot of energy doing “simple” stuff like writing down procedures and job descriptions, developing a volunteer handbook and, restructuring how we use our project management software. I’ve tried to learn how each team functions and as much as I can about each team. It’s a lot. Indigo made it all look so easy and let me tell you...it’s not :)
What do you most want people to know about BurlyCon?
Burlycon is a volunteer run organization. We have paid directors but our board and steering committee are 100% volunteers. That’s about 50 kind, generous and hard working humans who work year-round because they care about BurlyCon. It’s touching and heartwarming. We all believe in the mission and values and we have the opportunity to make an impact on our art form.
What do you see for BurlyCon's future?
I have a lot of ideas that I hope to implement in the next handful of years. None of which I can talk about right now. But what I can share is that I see BurlyCon growing and working towards serving the community in new ways. I see us aiming to make a positive impact. As our Community team says “the goal is to make the greatest impact with the least harm.” So yeah, grow and expand while serving the needs of the community. How’s that for a non answer?
Where can people see you?
I’m finally ending my hiatus and will be performing and producing again. I’m currently working on a couple shows for 2020 with Vertical Sideshow. I just joined the team this year and it’s pretty exciting to create alongside two people who’s work I admire so much. Shout out to Bazuka Joe and Ray Gunn!
I’m also doing some solo stuff:
November 22 & 23 - Boise, Idaho for Subversive Dreams with Frankly Burlesque Productions
December 14- with Sin Sisters at Kuumbwa Jazz Center
January 19-25- Sacred Sex at Sea with Atlanta Tantra
See more of Lola at